Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Andrew Kaul, Ph.D.

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Andrew Kaul, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development

Research Interests

• Restoration Ecology
• Restoration of herbaceous plant diversity in Ozark glades and woodlands.
• Prairie restoration

Matthew Albrecht, Ph.D.
Associate Scientist in Conservation Biology
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development

Research Interests
• Conservation Biology
• Endangered Species Recovery
• Restoration and Reintroduction Ecology

Identifying regional- and restoration species pools for restoration of the Ozark Highlands. Kaul is a Postdoctoral Fellow in MBG’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development specializing in restoration ecology, his research interests include prairie restoration; Albrecht is an Associate Scientist specializing in conservation biology in MBG’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development; his research interests include ex situ and in situ conservation, conservation genetics, and seed germination ecology. One of the largest barriers to restoration of degraded terrestrial habitats is availability of appropriate propagules for reintroduction of target native plant species. In recent years, the industry of seed production of native plants has grown rapidly, but most native species in the US are not commercially available, and there are strong biases in which types of species tend to be selected by seed producers (White et al.  2018). The restoration species pool (Ladouceur et al. 2018) is a subset of the actual species pool, and describes the species that are commercially available for a specific community or region. The few studies that have been conducted on commercial seed availability for restoration have found consistently that herbaceous and rare species are less likely to be available, and there are strong taxonomic biases in which families are available in the restoration species pool (Ladouceur et al 2018, White et al. 2018, Vidal et al. 2020). However, previous studies on how to best select species for reintroduction have largely focused open systems (grasslands and savanna) rather than on closed systems (woodlands and forests). To address this gap, we are examining the capacity of the native seed industry to support ecological restoration across terrestrial habitats in the Ozark region of the midcontinent USA. The use of seed additions to accelerate recovery of plant diversity in Ozark woodlands and forests is not well studied, and little information is available on how to best to select species for reintroduction from seed. The specific goals of this project are to: 1) Identify the species pool of native herbaceous (non-woody) vascular plants appropriate for restoration of glades, woodlands, and forests in the Ozark Highlands, 2) Identify which of these species are commercially available (restoration species pool), and of those, how many are from local ecotypes, and 3) Quantify biases in this restoration species pool with respect to taxonomy, rarity, and habitat affinity. To achieve these goals, the REU student will first develop 3 lists of species appropriate for consideration in restoration seed mixes for glades, woodlands, or forests within this region. These lists will be compiled by cross-referencing native herbaceous species in the Flora of Missouri with habitat affinities documented in The Terrestrial Natural Communities of Missouri and other floristic surveys of intact reference sites in the Eastern Ozarks. Second, the student will use web searches, and if necessary, email or phone interviews to assess commercial availability and provenance for each species. We will use ANOVA and simple linear regression to test whether commercial species availability is biased towards open habitats and common species.


• Ladouceur, E., et al. (2018). Native Seed Supply and the Restoration Species Pool. Conservation Letters 11: e12381.
• Omernik, J.M. 1987. Ecoregions of the conterminous United States. Map (scale 1:7,500,000). Annals of the Association of American Geographers 77(1):118-125.
• Vidal, C. Y., et al. (2020). Assessment of the nursery species pool for restoring landscapes in southeastern Brazil. Restoration Ecology 28: 427-434.
• White, A., et al. (2018). Restoring species diversity: assessing capacity in the U.S. native plant industry. Restoration Ecology 26: 605-611.

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